also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Lancaster’s Religious Studies and Sociology degree is taught by some of the leading international scholars in both fields. The Complete University Guide 2016 ranks Lancaster ninth for Religious Studies and 11th for Sociology in the UK.
Your degree will help you understand the interface between religion and society and addresses a wide range of issues affecting people’s lives today and the societies in which they live. You’ll also develop sensitivity to the historical contexts that have shaped the contemporary world.
You’ll divide your time equally between courses in Sociology and Religious Studies, starting with the modules Religions of the Modern World and Introduction to Sociology. You’ll be able to specialise and develop your own interests with second-year subjects such as Understanding Social Thought; Islam: Tradition, Community and Contemporary Challenges; Buddhism and Society in Sri Lanka, South-East and East Asia; and Religion and Society. In your final year you can choose from modules which include: Media, Politics and Religion; The Moral Life of Society; New Religions and Alternative Spiritualities; and Religion in Contemporary Indian Life.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
The Sociology 101 Course introduces you to sociological issues, ideas, concepts, evidence and argument by examining some key aspects of living in the contemporary world. By the end of the course, you should have a basic capacity for conceptual analysis and for applying sociological reasoning to empirical examples. This will allow you to evaluate what you see around you with new critical skills. The lectures are designed to provide you with a basic background in the topics being reviewed.
You will be introduced to debates and issues related to various aspects of contemporary societies and encouraged to explore ideas and undertake analysis. In this respect, it is perhaps better to think of sociology as an interpretative scientific endeavour rather than producing definitive findings or laws, although it may do this too. Sociology is an exciting subject. It can seem confusing, especially to those of you who are coming to it for the first time. Sociology will seem to cover every topic in society, there are different kinds of sociology, and many different areas where sociological research matters, from politics to design.
We will help you develop new skills in thinking sociologically. The course will stimulate interest for students who have not done an Advanced Level course in Sociology, whilst providing a challenge to those who have.
More specifically, the course's aims are threefold. First, you will learn about various aspects of contemporary societies and key concepts (e.g. society, identity, modernity, globalization). Each block introduces a key area of sociological inquiry and long-standing as well as newly emerging research questions. Many sociologists at Lancaster are renowned for their creative and groundbreaking research and each module relates to one or more of the Department's research areas, so you will experience major figures in international Sociology and get a taste of the department's current teaching and research portfolio.
Second, you will learn basic study and research skills. These include: taking notes, using the library, conducting sociological research, analysing written and spoken arguments and empirical evidence, writing, using the internet as a research tool, working and discussing in groups, preparing and making oral presentations.
Third, you will learn to think sociologically. That is to say that you will be able to identify social dimensions of contemporary life, summarise sociological ideas and arguments, and analyse social phenomena from a sociological perspective. In short, you will begin to think differently about how we lead our lives in the present day world.
This module provides an outline of the growth and development of the world’s major religious traditions, their primary characteristics, and subsequently considers some of the various forms they take in the contemporary world.
After a general introduction to the study of religion, the module is divided into five sections. The first four sections reflect on four religious traditions – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. The first two lectures of these sections will set each religion in context and set out the varieties of its beliefs. The third and fourth lectures will explore religious ethics and practice, and examine some of the contemporary issues facing these religions today. The module concludes with a cross-cultural and inter-religious examination of some of the key issues for the study of religion in the modern world, such as ethics, politics, gender, and the character of religious life as it faces the challenges of the twenty-first century.
This module is organised around a range of cross-cutting methodological issues that are addressed in relation to established methods (such as interviewing and quantitative surveys). Discussions and activities incorporate a range of methodological approaches using visual, qualitative, and quantitative data. Students are provided with a clear outline of the module structure and topics at the outset, and in-class activities will be designed to engage students in active learning with ample opportunities for formative feedback.
This course introduces the development of social theory from the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to contemporary debates about the character of knowing.
This course offers the opportunity to learn skills in reading, analysing, comparing, and critically evaluating major social theories of the rise of modern societies.
Social and cultural theories of the body have transformed thinking in the last two decades. Indeed, accounts of the body and embodiment have moved from being a marginal aspect of social and theory to a central feature of how we understand and experience media culture and society. Through a series of case-studies, this module explores some of the key developments in sociological accounts of the body and the body politic (or the nation state). Throughout this module we will focus on issues of inequality, stigma, power, in/visibility, surveillance, disability, 'race' and ethnicity. Examining the body as a site of social control, and as a repository of shifting classifications, we will consider bodies which do not easily fit prevailing social and cultural norms, bodies which are perceived to be ‘out of place’, abject or deviant and bodies imagined and employed as sites of resistance and protest.
As well as gaining an understanding of some key social, cultural and political issues you will develop critical thinking, reading, writing skills and practical skills. We will go on course field-trips (for example to Lancaster Castle in order to think about the history of punishment) and you will participate in lively and challenging workshops. As part of the assessment for this course you will make a short film in response to themes and issues examined or provoked by lectures, screenings, reading and seminar discussions. This course is interdisciplinary and is open to students from any discipline, but has been particularly designed for Sociology, Media and Cultural Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies students.
This module aims to provide students with a solid knowledge base and understanding of a range of important issues, key concepts, contemporary debates, and approaches regarding Buddhism and modernity in Asian countries. It covers different historical, social, political, and economic factors that have impacted on the development of Buddhism in respective societies as well as looking at the intersection between secular power and religious authority.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to make informed judgements and present their own views on key concepts and issues that have impacted on Buddhism in the past and present of select countries in Southeast Asia and in the Far East. They will also be able to articulate the differences and describe critically the transformations taking place in regard to Buddhism through discussing concepts of modernity, authority, gender, development, and power.
This module aims to survey and critically examine the main themes, key concepts, debates and approaches to the study of Christianity and theological change in the modern word. Students will develop an analytical and interpretive framework within which to situate competing Christian traditions and theologies in a historical context.
Throughout the module students will learn to demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of established debates, theoretical literature and emerging insights in respect of the modern history of Christianity, as well as evidence an understanding and critical evaluation of developments and debates within Christian theology and history. The module will critically analyse developments in Christianity in relation to changing social and cultural contexts, and apply various theoretical frameworks and critical tools in order to understand, explain and analyse developments in the field.
This half-unit module will introduce students to sociological thinking on climate change. Debates about climate change are shifting, and beginning to make much stronger links between a vast and complex planetary perspective (a globe in crisis) and the private sphere (the home, low-carbon lifestyles, urban living, consumer demand, etc.). In this context, social theorists have been considering what sociological thinking can offer to contemporary debates on climate change issues. The module aims to introduce students to a range of new and emerging sociological analyses which examine: climate change and social change; new subjectivities, institutions and collectives under climate change; climate activism; dynamics of crisis and denial; the contested politics of climate change science; the global political economy of climate change; utopias and dystopias of climate change.
This module explores how consumption, advertising, branding and promotion shape society. In the module we will ask questions such as:
This module explores the role of friendship in society. Classical and contemporary sociological accounts often claim that social bonds have been eroded or that personal relationships and community have become less stable and more fluid. Sociology has focused most attention on family ties and kinship in exploring these questions. But a focus on friendship can offer new perspectives on society.
This module will ask: What does friendship mean today? What form of social bond is friendship? Has social change impacted on friendship and vice versa?
Contemporary women’s and men’s lives are vastly different from previous generations, yet there are certain patterns of inequality, gender difference, and normative sexuality that continue to be reproduced. This course explores and interrogates the workings of gender and sexuality in contemporary society by considering a range of sociological and feminist explanations. The focus is on multiple formations of gender, sexuality, identity and embodiment. The course will analyse power relations among women (differentiated by class, ‘race’, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality) as well as between men and women. The course is taught in workshop format and involves lively debate and lectures and analysis of readings, films, images and news and popular media. In term 2 you complete and present a group project based on independent research.
The course is divided into 4 thematic sections.
You will have the opportunity to: 1) learn skills in reading, analysing, and critically evaluating theories of gender difference and inequality; 2) to practice formulating your own sociological questions about gender and sexuality; 3) develop your skills in group work and oral presentation.
This module examines the historical formation of Islam; its renewal movements, past and present; and modern reform discourses on gender, politics, and law. The aim of the module is to gain an understanding of continuities and discontinuities in the Islamic tradition in relation to religious authority, theology, politics and contemporary practice.
Some of the topics studied include: the formation of Shari'a (Islamic law); competing Sunni and Shi'i orthodoxies; the rise of radical political movements and global Jihad; Islamic feminists; Islam and the West; and Islam in Britain.
The module offers a strong foundation for more specialised study in second and third year courses.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
This module introduces the sociological study of religion. It will consider selected key figures in the history of the sociological study of religion and will also tackle a selection of basic issues. Examples drawn from a range of contexts will also be considered. The module may cover Marx, Weber, Durkheim and others, as well as topics such as secularisation, definitions of religion religious organisation.
This course explores the question of how information and communications technologies, in their multiple forms, figure in our everyday lives. The aim of the course is to develop an appreciation for the range of experiences affected by digital media, including the progressive expansion of life online, and the increasingly intimate relations between life online and off. We’ll explore global divisions of digital labour; hactivism. The course will consider the new possibilities that the changing social infrastructure of digital technologies afford, while also learning to look at the rhetorics and practices of the virtual with a questioning and critical eye. Throughout the course we’ll be attentive to issues of gender, race and other marks of sameness and difference as they operate among humans, and between humans and machines.
All sociologists are supposed to know their classics but most only know them from second or third hand summaries. In this course we offer the opportunity for advanced students to have an intimate encounter with one of the core texts by one of the classics, texts that are referred to all the time in the social sciences. The text will change on an annual basis and in 2014/15 the module studied Zygmunt Bauman’s prize-winning book Modernity and the Holocaust (1989). In this collection of closely interlinked essays, Bauman makes the disturbing claim that, far from being some momentary regression to barbarism by a brain-washed population, the Holocaust was very much a ‘creature’ of modern society. Indeed, he argues that the social and personality structures that enabled the Holocaust to occur are very much a part of systems, processes and logics which continue into the present. In provocatively challenging our comfortable, complacent ‘civilised’ existence today, Bauman poses fascinating and vital questions about responsibility, ethics, co-operation and conformity, and our individual and collective courage to confront authority and violence. We will use Bauman’s book as a point of departure for exploring some central debates and key writings in Holocaust studies.
This module uses case studies of disasters (technical and social) to explore these questions and what sociology can teach us about them.
This challenging course investigates gender inequalities within society through a focus on historical and contemporary debates in feminist theory and activism. The course has an `intersectional` focus that means we will consider gender inequalities as bound up with other forms of discrimination and marginalisation, particularly racial and ethnic inequalities, disability and social class.
The first term will challenge you to think about `what feminism means today` through a consideration of key aspects of feminist thought and activism from the late 1960s onwards. We will consider the continued relevance of the idea of ‘The Personal is Political’ and ‘consciousness raising’. We will overview feminist approaches to social research and explore feminist interventions in practices of gender inequality, for example inequalities in paid and unpaid work, childcare and women’s health. You will complete an intergenerational interview research project on ‘women, work and social change’ through which you will analyse and present your findings in a group presentation and reflect upon your experience of the research process.
During the second term we will take the feminist manifesto as a central document which expresses lived experiences of gender inequalities and collective desire for social change. Through some practices of inequalities, such as art, beauty contests, capitalism and patriarchy we will explore the contemporary resonance of ideas such as black feminisms, art activism, the occupy movement and backlash.
By the end of the course you will be familiar with some of the key debates within feminism today and be able to make connections between feminist theory and forms of feminist practice. The course engages you in lively debate, original research and feminist activism through analysis of varied media including academic texts, advertising, art, film, news media and social media.
This module comprises a 10,000 word dissertation that students complete in their final year. It offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent piece of research (under supervision) and to apply their general understanding of the research process to real world examples that will inform their choice of dissertation topic.
Students will plan, present and design a dissertation proposal in tutorial groups, with a detailed, step-by-step web-based guide available for extra support. They will develop an idea for a research project, work out what is possible, which methods to use, and begin to plan it. They will then communicate their dissertation proposal to other students and then write it up in a way that clearly states their research topic, aims and methods, and where it situates within wider sociological debates. Students will carry out data collection and analysis, and write it up as a dissertation. They will meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their progress.
Economic inequalities have widened in advanced capitalist countries and yet many people are reluctant to acknowledge the existence of class. This module analyses how inequalities of class and status are generated, how they relate to other kinds of inequality, and how they are experienced. It explores how the mechanisms of capitalist economic organisation interact with other sources of inequality, not only producing an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities but affecting the way in which people value themselves and others.
Linking social structure to personal experience, the module will apply social theory, particularly that of Pierre Bourdieu, to the interpretation of everyday life, and to what people think about class.
The module will examine the cultural and political relationships and intersections between media, religion and politics in national and global contexts. Both old and new media will be considered, and consideration will be given to the transformative potential of the latter for participation and activism in religion and politics. The research methods used for analysing media content and discourse will be introduced and applied.
Topics may include:
Belonging to a nation is widely seen to be as natural as belonging to a family or a home. This module will explore how such assumptions about national belonging come about by introducing students to a range of theoretical approaches and debates.
Students will explore how notions belonging are socially constructed, how the nation is defined, who belongs and who doesn’t. The module addresses these notions by examining what everyday practices, discourses and representations reveal about the ways people think about, and inhabit, the nation. The module also pays particular attention to nation formation in relation to debates about multiculturalism, diversity and migration and asks: What are the impacts of migration and multiculturalism on definitions of the nation? How is multiculturalism defined and perceived?
Although focus will be on the example of Britain, issues raised will apply to many countries of the contemporary world.
The religious landscape in the West has changed significantly over the last hundred years or so. While the emergence of new religions and alternative spiritualities is not a recent phenomenon, the previous century, particularly since the 1960s, has witnessed a remarkable proliferation of new religious trajectories. Factors such as increased travel, advances in global communication, and the virtual worlds of cyberspace have made available a bewildering variety of options for religious seekers. This module enables students to understand what is taking place in this territory. Through an analysis of established organisations (eg Jehovah’s Witnesses) and contemporary developments (eg Paganism and UFO religions), they will be introduced to a number of theoretical perspectives and issues, such as violence, millennialism, gender, and charismatic leadership.
This is an enjoyable course, in which students will be encouraged to incorporate case study research in their work.
There are claims that religion is little more than a perverse and irrational scar on the modern world, one that invariably causes violence, while others claim that religion is good and that violence only occurs when religion has been hijacked by other forces. Others still claim that religious violence is a myth constructed for political purposes, and that one should not therefore speak of religion in such terms.
In disentangling such claims, the relationship between religion and violence is examined, asking whether one can draw such associations between the two and whether one can develop broader theoretical understandings about their relationship that enhances our understanding of religion in the modern world. The module continually refers to empirical data and case studies in which religious movements and individuals have been involved in violent activities, as well as examining cases where acts of immense violence have occurred in what appear to be political contexts, but where religious rhetoric may have been used by the perpetrators of violence.
The aims of this module are to critically examine the teaching of religion in schools as it has developed since 1944, current controversies and possible futures; and, to provide relevant knowledge and understanding for those going on to a teaching career in RS/ethics.
Topics include social and political values in RE, pluralism and truth, spirituality in the curriculum, faith schools and secular worldviews. The focus is on the educational system in England and Wales but with reference to the rest of the UK and Europe.
This module considers ‘what a drug is’, alongside how and why we take drugs, by exploring the relationship between society, culture and intoxication. Together we will examine classic and contemporary literature on 'drugs' and the 'drug experience', including drug ethnographies, critical drug studies, and narcocultural studies (eg. literary works and media on drugs). We will also analyse how certain forms of drug use are produced as ‘social problems’ to develop a critical understanding of the aims, efficacies and inadequacies of societal responses to drug use, including drug education programmes, public health policies, treatment regimes, recovery work, and criminal sanctions. Other topics covered include club drugs in post-rave dance cultures; continuity and change in drug markets/distribution systems; drug prohibition, its consequences, and its alternatives; illicit drugs, globalisation and securitisation; gender, sexuality and drugs; researching drugs/drug use (theoretical concepts, research methods and ethics); risks, harms and pleasure; and mapping drug futures in the digital age.
This module addresses contemporary debates in sociology and cinema together by focusing on a single film each week. Its overall aim is to employ cinema for the purpose of social diagnosis.
The module engages with cinema as a social fact, before linking together cinema (producing images of the social) and sociality (socialisation of the image) for analysis. Against this background, the module seeks to broaden the range of topics for study within Sociology.
We live in societies in which forecasting and planning for the future is an important activity for governments, institutions, businesses and individuals. We live in societies in which imaginings of the future as a better time or as a more fearful one circulate in the here and now, calling us into action or invoking threats or desires. This module considers how we should understand the future from sociological and cultural perspectives. The module will address both how we can look into the future through various techniques in order to gain a foresight into what might happen, and we will look at the future – how images of the future circulate in the present through the work of scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, politicians and others.
The module explores varying sociological approaches to the analysis of violence and society. It covers key concepts, theories and empirical material before encouraging students to evaluate and contrast the varying perspectives on the issue.
Topics will include: violence and social change; violence from below and from above; violent crime and socio-economic inequality; gender-based violence against women; hate crime and genocide; criminal justice system; war, democracy and power; old and new wars; militarism and gender; peace processes; terrorism; securitisation; increases and decreases in violence over time.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
The skills you’ll gain during your Sociology and Religious Studies degree - such as critical communication skills – are a good foundation for many careers. In increasingly multicultural societies and an integrated world, Religious Studies graduates are highly valued for their understanding of a variety of religions, cultures and values. Furthermore, your study of Sociology enables you to place this knowledge in context within contemporary society.
Lancaster graduates in the subject have chosen a wide range of careers, including roles in the Civil Service, journalism, banking, the police and business, as well as teaching and the caring professions.
Some of our alumni also pursue further study through a postgraduate degree at Lancaster or another institution.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework